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58th Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne - 1.1

Belgium, February 27, 2005

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Commentary by Jeff Jones

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 14:00 CET
Estimated finish time: 16:30 CET

13:56 CET   
Welcome back to the upwardly mobile Cyclingnews commentary blimp, from where we are bringing you the 58th edition of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne almost live. Today's race is the second big one of the Belgian opening weekend, and it's often favourable to the sprinters. But that doesn't mean it will be an easy race.

Although the conditions today are meant to be dryer than yesterday (notwithstanding a few snow storms), there is a bitingly cold northeasterly wind blowing at between 40-50 km/h. This will be across the riders for much of the day, against them on the way out to Ninove (somewhere near Brussels) and assisting them slightly coming back to Kuurne. The sun is out, except when it's snowing, but the temperatures are once again not much above zero degrees celsius. Add to that the wind chill factor (about -7 degrees) and you can see it's going to be a cold day for a bike race.

There are sufficient riders who like the cold, in particular 2004 winner Steven de Jongh, who has been targeting this race. "In these cold weather conditions I am at my best," said De Jongh after finishing third in Het Volk yesterday. "I got rid of the arm and leg warmers early on in the race today; I was too warm. It's a genetic thing, my mum's hands are always warm too."

Today's 190 km of fun starts in Kuurne, on the outskirts of Kortrijk in West Flanders, then heads due east to the turning point at Ninove (km 60), which is as close to Brussels (25 km) as the riders get. The outward journey is fairly uneventful, as nearly all the climbs are reserved for the second two thirds. After passing through Geraardsbergen, but not via the Muur, the real climbing begins at La Houppe (km 91). Then it's onto the Kanarieberg (km 98), Kruisberg (km 103), Oude Kwaremont (km 108), Mont Du Trieu (km 123), Tiegemberg (km 134), and the final climb, the Nokereberg (km 144). As with Het Volk, there are still 45 km to go to the finish after the last climb, so a regrouping is possible, depending on how hard the race has been ridden up to this point.

14:06 CET    90km/100km to go
Speaking of the weather, it's snowing hard in Kuurne at the moment. But that means it'll probably be sunny in about 10 minutes. The snow has hit the peloton too.

In the race, the peloton has split on the outward leg to Ninove. The cross/headwind has kept things together otherwise and there have been no real early breakaways. But the high average speed of 43 km/h has probably prevented anything from getting away as well. Not to mention the snow!

But now, as they head back towards Kuurne, a breakaway of 10 riders has formed: Sebastian Rosseler (QuickStep), Preben Van Hecke (Davitamon-Lotto), Leif Hoste (Discovery), Roy Sentjens and Posthuma (Rabobank), Johan Coenen (MrBookmaker), Nico Eeckhout (Jacques), Thomas Lövkvist (Francaise des Jeux) and Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) and Cyril Lemoine (Credit Agricole). They have 30 seconds on the first peloton and 3'30 on the second peloton, which is basically out of it.

14:25 CET    95km/95km to go
It's still snowing fairly hard in Kuurne, but not on the riders.

Leif Hoste and Roy Sentjens cross the summit of La Houppe first, with the rest of the 10 man break close behind. As they get to the top, the snow starts. They're on the way down to Ronse now. Eeckhout has his jacket unzipped. Must be too hot.

Christophe Agnolutto is attempting to chase the leaders on his own, but is not succeeding. The main peloton is still a good 90-100 riders, and is 4'18 behind the break.

14:28 CET    98km/92km to go
A Skil-Moser rider shows the classic jersey in front of the peloton, trying to stir things up. It's snowing pretty hard now as Stijn Devolder gets to the front, still wearing shorts(!) Quick.Step appears to be stirring up the peloton too as it crests La Houppe. They have Rosseler in the break though.

14:30 CET    99km/91km to go
The bunch is now on the way down to Ronse, as the break climbs the steep Muziekbos. The snow has eased and the roads are dry here. 4'04 is the gap.

14:34 CET    101km/89km to go
Eeckhout has a bit of a mechanical problem. He still has his outer jersey unzipped. At least the sun is out now. You would never have guessed it was snowing 10 minutes ago. Eeckhout removes his jacket and gives it to the team car.

The peloton is now at the foot of the Muziekbos, with Kevin de Weert (Quick Step) leading the chase. The plan is to probably set it up for Boonen.

Francesco Planckaert and Stijn Devolder take over in front of the peloton, then De Weert and Hincapie. Devolder is looking very strong, again.

14:35 CET   
Hincapie and Devolder confer as they get sleeted on in the sunshine. Gotta love Belgian weather.

14:36 CET    103km/87km to go
A correction to that climb: it was the Kanarieberg, not the Muziekbos. It's the Muziekbos if you do it the other way. The gap is 3'37 to the 10 man break at the top.

14:38 CET    104km/86km to go
The break is working fairly well, with the two Rabobanks, Vasseur and Hoste looking particularly strong. Vasseur gets some oil sprayed on his chain, as the snow and salt on the roads tends to mess things up.

Bettini and Nuyens have abandoned.

14:39 CET   
Serge Baguet (Davitamon-Lotto) appears next to Devolder in front of the peloton, sharing a joke. In the second rank, Tom Boonen is chatting to Geert Steegmans while eating. Jimmy Engoulvent (Cofidis) and Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto) are also up there. They're not really chasing now, and the gap goes up to 3'52.

14:42 CET    106km/84km to go
The 10 leaders: Sebastian Rosseler (QuickStep), Preben Van Hecke (Davitamon-Lotto), Leif Hoste (Discovery), Roy Sentjens and Posthuma (Rabobank), Johan Coenen (MrBookmaker), Nico Eeckhout (Jacques), Thomas Lövkvist (Francaise des Jeux) and Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) and Cyril Lemoine (Credit Agricole) are now on the Kruisberg (climb 4), having extended their gap to 4'10. Hoste does a turn just before they hit the 500m of cobbles. Sunshine and dry roads!

14:45 CET    107km/83km to go
One question that has been raised in the last few weeks is why is half the peloton sick? Cyclingnews spoke to CSC team doctor Joost De Maeseneer who was checking in on his riders in the team hotel Prado in Melle.

Dr. De Maeseneer's opinion: "It's the time of the year really. Everybody is asking that question every year at the start of the season. There's a simple enough explanation though: the weather. All over Europe there are a lot more viral infections in January-February; the whole population is affected really. Because these athletes are training in bad weather, which to be honest, is still too cold to ride in, it's normal that some of them get sick. Also, there is a string of coincidental factors; like the change in nutrition from hotel to hotel, the travelling, etc. In our team we had a stomach-intestinal infection to deal with during the training camp last week. So all those things attack the immune system and the riders are more susceptible to viral infections. But really, it's a common phenomenon this early in the season, nothing extraordinary."

[Ed: This opinion is not shared by everyone.]

14:46 CET    109km/81km to go
The peloton hits the Kruisberg 4'16 behind the leaders, with a host of red jerseys in front. Davitamon-Lotto, Flanders mainly. There are also a few Discovery riders. Lotto has one man in the front (Van Hecke) but maybe they want to bring things back. Baguet leads on the climb.

14:49 CET    110km/80km to go
There's a bit of snow on the descent of the Kruisberg. Baguet (Lotto), Boonen (Quick.Step) and Bert Scheirlinckx (Flanders) lead the bunch over the top and get a little gap. There is a lot of damage at the back of the peloton. 4'01 is the gap at the top.

14:50 CET    112km/78km to go
The peloton slowly comes back to the Baguet, Boonen group, but only bit by bit. Quick.Step and Discovery are well represented up here.

The 10 leaders are now at 3'45, chased by 9 men including Boonen, Devolder, Baguet, Scheirlinckx.

14:52 CET    113km/77km to go
The descent is pretty dangerous, with small snowdrifts on the road. But the concrete is still fairly dry. The chasers regroup as Boonen and Klier do turns. Hincapie is also there, as is O'Bee (Navigators) - maybe 25 riders.

14:55 CET    114km/76km to go
Quick.Step now have four men in front of the chase group, led by De Weert and Tankink. Hulsmans and Boonen follow, then Hincapie, Devolder, O'Grady, Baguet, Mattan, Vierhouten, Gardeyn, Joachim, Van den Broeck, Klier. They're not far from the Kwaremont now as they head through Zulzeke. Another group of 30 is trying to close the gap. Then another group of 30... They can forget it.

14:59 CET    117km/73km to go
More riders are joining the first chase group as the 10 leaders hit the Kwaremont with 3'20 advantage. The road is dry here, the sun is out and we probably won't could easily get more snow.

Lövkvist is suffering at the back of the break, as are Lemoine and Rosseler. That leaves seven men in front, with Hoste, Vasseur, Posthuma, Sentjens, Eeckhout, Coenen and Van Hecke . Vasseur has powered away from the break on the climb!

15:01 CET   
The Discovery boys are leading the bunch on the Kwaremont, with Joachim, Roulston and Devolder. Klier is in fourth wheel. Peloton is splitting to bits, but the Quick.Step boys are right behind. Hincapie is still in there too.

Nardello has abandoned.

15:03 CET   
Devolder takes over from Joachim and hammers, opening up a 100m gap on the rest of the group, forcing Quick.Step and Lotto to chase. It's splitting again and Boonen is on Klier's wheel, following a few seconds behind Devolder.

Don't forget Vasseur, who is still 3'08 in front and riding well.

Devolder is flying!!

15:05 CET    121km/69km to go
Devolder reaches the top of the Kwaremont, followed by the Boonen/Klier group, which also has Steegmans, Roesems, Mattan and Baguet (Davitamon, Hulsmans and Tankink (QuickStep), Hincapie and Roulston (Discovery), Klier (T-Mobile) - about 16 in total.

15:08 CET    122km/68km to go
A second group is trying to come back to Boonen's first chase group, which is on the descent into Ronse towards the Trieu. Vogels, Renshaw, Joachim are in it.

Van Petegem and Kroon are all in the front chasing group, meaning that Lotto has a huge representation in front. Discovery and Quick.Step have quite a few guys too.

Nevertheless, the front of the race is still 3'00 up the road, we think Vasseur is still leading.

15:10 CET    124km/66km to go
Vasseur has been caught and the 10 leaders are back together en route to the Cote de Trieu. 2'50 back to the Boonen/Devolder/Van Petegem group. 3'05 back to the Vogels/Renshaw chase group.

15:12 CET    125km/65km to go
The leaders are now on the Trieu, which gets gradually steeper as you go up it, with a maximum of 13 percent. There's a bit of mud on the road, but nothing out of the ordinary. They only have 2'36 now.

15:15 CET    126km/64km to go
Leif Hoste takes over the pace making on the Trieu, shaking his elbow furiously at Coenen to take over. Coenen does, but Van Hecke lets the gap open up and suddenly Coenen is alone. Probably not where he wants to be. Van Hecke gets the message and bridges across the small gap, followed by Hoste and Sentjens. Then a gap to the rest of the break. Vasseur flies past and is with the front two now. Impressive.

2'10 at the top. Eeckhout comes back, now Posthuma and Sentjens. But the group behind is coming up fast. The second chase group, which has Joachim/Vogels in it is not that far behind.

15:16 CET   
Kirsipuu has abandoned.

15:18 CET    128km/62km to go
Devolder leads the first chase group over the top of the Trieu, with De Weert right on his wheel. Van Impe is trying to get across to them, from the second chase group. There's a bit of snow on the sides of the road now.

15:20 CET    130km/60km to go
Mattan and Tankink take over on the Ronde Van Vlaanderenstraat, back down towards Berchem. Van Impe and Aart Vierhouten are closing the gap to them on the descent. Nice work. Vierhouten stays behind, pushing Van Impe by his saddle. They get on at the bottom.

15:22 CET    131km/59km to go
The first chase group has: Boonen, Tankink, Hulsmans, De Weert (Quick.Step), Baguet, Van Petegem, Roesems, Mattan, Steegmans, Vierhouten (DVL), Roulston, Devolder, Hincapie, Van den Broeck (Discovery), Van Impe (Jacques), Kroon (Rabobank), Klier (T-Mobile). Davitamon Lotto has the numbers, and they still have a rider in the front break which is 2'12 up the road.

They speed through Berchem.

15:23 CET   
Quick.Step director Wilfried Peters explained to Sporza why Bettini stopped earlier: "Bettini was frozen. He's not super yet but he really wanted to experience this Belgian opening weekend. The coming days he will do some long distance training and will be ready for Tirreno. He's had a tough start, getting sick twice earlier this year."

15:24 CET    133km/57km to go
The leaders are now taking it a bit easier, struggling into the crosswind. Looks like Lemoine, Rosseler and Lövkvist have been dropped for good. Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis), Preben Van Hecke (Davitamon-Lotto), Leif Hoste (Discovery), Roy Sentjens and Posthuma (Rabobank), Johan Coenen (MrBookmaker), Nico Eeckhout (Jacques) are in the group.

15:26 CET    134km/56km to go
The lead group is definitely relaxed, and is losing time to the chasers. It's now 1'55 as they head towards the Tiegemberg.

15:29 CET    135km/55km to go
The seven leaders (Rosseler is not there) ride up the Tiegemberg at a steady pace, losing time quickly to the chasers. The group behind is working wheel and is just 1'42 behind. Renshaw/Joachim/Vogels (nine men) are chasing that group at about 30 seconds.

15:31 CET    137km/53km to go
Mattan and De Weert lead the chasers on the Tiegemberg. Klier looks ok, but is ridiculously outnumbered by three strong teams. Klier is first over the top, 1'43 to the leaders. They'll pick up Lemoine, Lövkvist and Rosseler soon.

15:34 CET    138km/52km to go
If these two front groups come together, we'll see some interesting tactics. Quick.Step will want to keep it together for Boonen. But Davitamon Lotto and Discovery don't really have a sprinter to match Boonen, so they will want to attack. They have the numbers to do so as well.

Rosseler, Lövkvist and Lemoine are caught. Seven leaders at 1'23. Renshaw's group is another minute behind, and pretty well out of it.

15:36 CET    139km/51km to go
In front, Johan Coenen fiddles with his outer jacket, which is fully unzipped. He seems to be looking around for someone to give it to. The 18 man chase group, led by Tankink, Hulsmans and De Weert, is now just 1'10 behind the leaders. Boonen is in sixth wheel behind a couple of Lottos.

15:38 CET    141km/49km to go
Van Petegem goes back to check things with the team car as Klier accelerates! Interesting. There is a reaction, of course. De Weert is on his wheel, followed by the rest of the group. Well, half of it. Now it's coming together again. A minute.

15:41 CET    142km/48km to go
Mattan and De Weert now have a bit of a gap, forcing the others to chase. Devolder leads them back. There are three main teams here, all playing tactics. Van Petegem is attempting to put on a jacket. Or take it off. Or not get it in his spokes.

The gap is up to 1'07 as the pace has eased off.

15:43 CET    143km/47km to go
The headwind is pretty strong here, and it's bitingly cold. The leaders are down to 30 clicks per hour on a slight uphill. Everyone is tired, including the chasers who are now at 1'20.

Jakob Piil has abandoned due to a crash.

15:44 CET    144km/46km to go
The tactics are interesting here, as pretty well all of the teams in the chase group have men up the road. Mark Renshaw's group has made it back to the first chase group, which now numbers 27.

15:47 CET    145km/45km to go
Davitamon Lotto now have seven men in the chase group and one in the break. That's their whole team! Nevertheless, it's Quick.Step leading the chase with five men. 1'22 is the gap as the leaders ride up the Nokereberg, the last climb of the day. Coenen is flying.

15:47 CET   
Vasseur looks extremely smooth at the back of the breakaway. He is probably saving something for the finale, if the break makes it.

15:48 CET    147km/43km to go
Quick.Step leads the bunch up the Nokereberg, 1'16 behind the break. Hulsmans in front, but Rosseler is right behind him, back working again.

15:50 CET    148km/42km to go
Hulsmans looks back and sees two teammates behind him. Quick.Step is going to have to work hard to pull back the break, and they're going to have to leave it until the last minute as otherwise the seven Lottos and five Discoverys will rip them apart.

15:52 CET    149km/41km to go
It's now a bit of a tailwind as they head over the E17 towards Waregem. It's tailwind all the way to the finish, but then there is a closing circuit. No change to the gap - still 1'19.

15:54 CET    150km/40km to go
In the front group, Vasseur comes through for his turn, then Sentjens, Van Hecke, Sentjens again, Vasseur again... Vasseur and Sentjens now have a bit of a gap.

15:54 CET    151km/39km to go
Van Hecke lets it open up, so Coenen, Hoste and the rest jump across. All back together. Van Hecke is looking pretty knackered though.

15:56 CET    152km/38km to go
The leaders race through Waregem, past a big bright red circus tent. The Rabo team car comes up next to Posthuma and Sentjens and gives them some advice. The afternoon sun is shining weakly, but it's shining. No more snow today. The gap is 1'07 as Scheirlinckx punctures.

15:57 CET    153km/37km to go
Scheirlinckx gets a moderately fast wheel change and is on his way again, 20 seconds behind the group. The Quick.Step boys have the gap down to 1'02 now.

15:59 CET    154km/36km to go
The chase group has five Quick.Steps in front, then Mattan (Lotto), Klier (T-Mobile) and then the rest of the Lotto team. Discovery is next to them. It's 58 seconds. Timing is everything in this situation.

16:01 CET    156km/34km to go
With 35 km to go, the quick.Step train is refueling. Tankink has had a good weekend and is one of the strongest today, as is Hulsmans. This is perfect for Boonen. 50 seconds...

16:03 CET    157km/33km to go
The lead group (Vasseur, Van Hecke ,Hoste, Sentjens, Posthuma, Coenen, Eeckhout) is not working quite as smoothly as it should be, especially with just 46 seconds on the next chase group. Vasseur, if he's feeling good, might have to take a flyer soon...

16:04 CET    158km/32km to go
Scheirlinckx has made it back to the main group after his puncture. Good work from the Flanders boy.

16:06 CET    159km/31km to go
Rosseler is on the tops of the bars as he does his turn. They still need him for a bit more. Renshaw is near the back of the group - he told Cyclingnews yesterday that he was hoping to do something in this race. He can sprint too. He's looking for his team car at the moment.

16:08 CET    161km/29km to go
The chase is relentless, but the gap is still 46 seconds to the seven leaders as the race reaches the 30 km to go mark. It's head/crosswind now, and really tough going.

16:10 CET    162km/28km to go
The race has reached a steady state situation with regards to the gap between the break and the bunch. It's hovering between 45-50 seconds. The question is, is Quick.Step too tired to close it or are they just waiting for the right moment. We'll see in a few more kilometres.

16:12 CET    163km/27km to go
In the front group, Roy Sentjens is a past winner of KBK, having won the 2003 edition.

In the chase group, Rosseler is totally spent, and drops off the train. Now Quick.Step is chasing with three men at 46 seconds.

16:15 CET    165km/25km to go
Vogels now gets some oil sprayed on his chain, and a bit of work on his brakes. Quick.Step now has just two men chasing - Hulsmans and De Weert. Boonen in third wheel. That's going to be hard.

The leaders race across a short section of cobbles.

16:17 CET    166km/24km to go
Hulsmans drives across the cobbles and brings the gap down to 40 seconds. He's going to have to do a huge chunk of work to get the leaders back.

Joachim is dropped from the chase group. Now 39 seconds, 38, 37. 3 km to the finishing circuit.

16:18 CET    167km/23km to go
Hulsmans is doing an incredible job. He has pegged it to 35 seconds, then De Weert rolls over, gritting his teeth. Quick.Step is riding right on the edge of the road, not giving the rest (except Boonen) much shelter. 26 seconds. Amazing work by De Weert!

16:20 CET    168km/22km to go
Quick.Step has made up its mind to close the gap, as Tankink and Rosseler are gone. That will expose Boonen to the rest of the bunch, but they can't leave it too long.

The leaders are 1 km from the first passage of the finish line. Eeckhout attacks, slowly. Vasseur and Sentjens chase him. And Hoste gets them too.

16:21 CET    169km/21km to go
Quick.Step leads over the line, 23 seconds behind the break. Now they really have to work. 22 seconds. The leaders are back together as Posthuma attacks, followed by Coenen. The rest look at each other.

16:23 CET    171km/19km to go
Vasseur goes after the two leaders, but the rest are onto him like a flash. He sits up. Then Eeckhout and Sentjens counter, and get a gap. They are getting up to Coenen and Posthuma very quickly. But not yet.

16:23 CET   
Vasseur is chasing the front four, alone.

16:24 CET    172km/18km to go
It's two against two, but Sentjens is not helping Eeckhout chase. So it's two against one. In front, Posthuma forces the pace with Coenen on his wheel.

16:25 CET    173km/17km to go
We now have: Roy Sentjens, Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), Johan Coenen (MrBookmaker), Nico Eeckhout (Jacques) in the lead, then Vasseur slowly closing the gap at 5 seconds. Then the peloton, which has swallowed the rest of the break. Will Lotto help the chase now? And Discovery?

16:26 CET   
Vasseur gets on as the two Rabos attack with Eeckhout. Coenen takes Vasseur up to them. Five leaders. 30 seconds to the peloton.

16:27 CET    173km/17km to go
The five behind begin to work again, looking at each other and then back to the peloton, where Boonen, Steegmans and Devolder have set off. They're away! 21 seconds behind the five leaders.

16:28 CET   
Steegmans was the first to attack, with Boonen and Devolder getting on his wheel.

16:29 CET    174km/16km to go
That was impressive: Steegmans, Boonen and Devolder close the gap very quickly. Eight leaders: Roy Sentjens, Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), Johan Coenen (MrBookmaker), Nico Eeckhout (Jacques), Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis), Boonen (Quick.Step), Steegmans (Lotto), Devolder (Discovery)

16:30 CET    175km/15km to go
No teams are going to be interested in chasing them, as the three big teams are represented in front. Scheirlinckx and Renshaw are working, but the gap is 20 seconds.

16:31 CET    176km/14km to go
They hit the Kasteelstraat again and it's Mattan leading the peloton. Lotto might not be happy with Steegmans in front. Well, Boonen in front. That's the last thing they want! But it's 23 seconds.

16:32 CET    177km/13km to go
Devolder puts in a massive attack but Boonen gets him. Vasseur and Sentjens also there. The rest claw their way back on, although Coenen is suffering. 32 seconds.

16:33 CET    177km/13km to go
Devolder goes yet again, and Boonen struggles to close the gap. Sentjens, Eeckhout and Vasseur are there. The rest are nearly dropped. No, Steegmans and Coenen get back. Only Posthuma is not there.

16:35 CET    178km/12km to go
Devolder attacks yet again, and Boonen chases him yet again. Ouch. Sentjens, Vasseur and Eeckhout and co. watch the carnage. Now Steegmans accelerates. Nope, not an attack. Boonen looks at Devolder, who attacks of course. 1 lap of 11 km to go.

16:36 CET    180km/10km to go
The peloton is now splitting up, led by Lotto, The gap is 31 seconds with one lap to go. Van Petegem is there, as is Hincapie. Posthuma gets back to the leaders and attacks!!

16:37 CET    181km/9km to go
It's Vasseur who reacts first, with Devolder, Boonen, Eeckhout, Coenen, Steegmans and Sentjens in tow. Boonen attacks! Devolder has to chase him. That hurts the rest of them. Posthuma still has a gap.

16:38 CET   
The pace eases up as Posthuma continues out in front. Another Rabobank winner in Kuurne? Impressive. 12 seconds to Boonen's group, which is being caught by the peloton.

16:39 CET    182km/8km to go
The front part of the peloton has indeed latched onto Boonen's group, as Devolder and Boonen attack again. Steegmans in third wheel. But Posthuma has 14 seconds now. They're playing with fire.

16:40 CET    182km/8km to go
Van Petegem attacks next, and Boonen chases him. Then Sentjens. Then another Lotto rider attacks. Roesems. Devolder goes after him, but sits up. Then Klier. They can't let anything go.

Posthuma has just 6 seconds. ouch.

16:41 CET    183km/7km to go
Posthuma has five seconds on Roesems and Hulsmans(?) Then the rest close the gap. Posthuma is finally caught and Hulsmans takes over the pace making.

16:42 CET    184km/6km to go
Vierhouten counters now, taking Van Impe and Roulston with him. Sentjens is chasing them.

16:43 CET    184km/6km to go
Sentjens catches them, as do Klier, Muravyev, Hincapie... Van Impe attacks, Hincapie chases...

16:44 CET    185km/5km to go
5 km to go and Bert Roesems is trying to get up to Hincapie and Van Impe. It's split apart completely.

16:44 CET   
Van Impe does a big turn into the wind, while Hincapie looks behind to see Roesems coming.

16:45 CET   
Roesems is at 7 seconds. The group behind is history, it looks like.

16:46 CET    186km/4km to go
George Hincapie and Kevin Van Impe are leading Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with 4 km to go, being chased by Lotto's Bert Roesems, then no-one ...

16:47 CET    187km/3km to go
Roesems is still 5, 6 7 seconds behind the leading two, who are working their butts off to stay clear. Hincapie looks stronger than Van Impe.

16:48 CET    188km/2km to go
Hincapie comes through for a turn as the chasing group goes under 3 km to go, a good 1'00 behind. Roesems still at 7 seconds.

2 km left...

16:48 CET   
Roesems is giving it everything to stay away and try to close to Hincapie and Van Impe. If they start looking at each other, he could get them.

16:49 CET    189km/1km to go
It's still Hincapie and Van Impe - now 13 seconds to Roesems, who probably won't get them. 1 km to go!

16:49 CET   
Roesems is too far back. The leaders are still cooperating. 700m. Hincapie looks down. He's on Van Impe's wheel.

16:50 CET    190km/0km to go
Van Impe leads to 500m to go, Hincapie sitting in nicely behind him... Hincapie attacks at 300m. He is strong. He wins Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne!!!

16:51 CET   
Roesems finishes third, as Eeckhout and Vierhouten take fourth and fifth. Then Sentjens and Roulston and Baguet.

Well it was a great win by Hincapie after a very hard race - he likes Belgium, that's for sure! Thanks for following Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne with us, and check again in a week or so for Paris-Nice.


1 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel            4.48.38
2 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim    
3 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto                  0.14    
4 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim     0.20    
5 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Davitamon - Lotto                   
6 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Rabobank                               
7 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Discovery Channel                   
8 Serge Baguet (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto                      
9 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Crédit Agricole                    
10 Andreas Klier (Ger) T-Mobile                   


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